RUSH: From the UK Daily Mail: “Children under ten think being a celebrity is the very best thing in the world, but they do not think quite as much of God, a survey has revealed.” They took a poll of just under 1500 crumb crunchers over there, and the poll ranked God “as their tenth favorite thing in the world, with celebrity, good looks, and being rich at one, two, and three respectively. It is the second year running that God has come in at #10 in the annual survey of National Kids Day, but being rich was #1 last time, being a celebrity is far and away #1 this time. God did come up again as being the most famous person in the world,” according to the crumb crunchers, “beating President Bush into second place. Killing and wars head the list on the [crumb crunchers] list of the very worst things in the world followed by drunks, bullies, illness, smoking, stealing, divorce, and being fat. Dying is in tenth place of worst things in the world,” in the poll of crumb crunchers ten and under in the UK.
Now, let’s look the this business about being a celebrity is the very best thing in the world. If they did such a survey in this country, would you expect similar results? I wouldn’t be surprised if the #1 thing that young people ten or under, 12 and under, whatever age, it would indeed be to become a celebrity. It’s one of the things that explains some of the behavior that we see running rampant. Look at Diana’s funeral. That was a classic illustration. We’re not talking about crumb crunchers under ten. That was one of the most amazing sights I have of seen. How many hundreds of thousands or millions was it that lined the streets, and everybody thought (incorrectly, by the way), that this was due to an outpouring of love, devotion, and gratitude and sorrow for the unfortunate princess.
While, in fact, there’s no question there was some of that, it was one of the most televised events in the world, and everybody wanted to be part of it. Everybody wanted to be part of the event! Nobody wanted to be a spectator. Everybody wanted to be in it! Everybody wanted to be able to say they were there. They probably had their TiVos or VCRs running, hoping that their face ended up on camera during the procession, during the funeral, and all of these things that took place. So there’s no question. I remember saying on this program, and it may be ten years ago or more, I arrived in New York City in 1988 so na?ve with so many things. You talk about wishing things you could change — and I don’t, because you can’t. Everything that happens leads you to where you are, and most honest people, if they get the question, “If you had to redo over in your life, what would it be?”
Most honest people say, “I think everything that happened lead me to where I am.” If they’re happy with where they are, that will be their answer, but I arrived in New York in 1988 from my adopted hometown of Sacramento. I had so many (sigh) mistaken notions about media. I’ve talked about this in the context of: if I ever write another book, I know what one of the books might be. I’d take a bunch of various topics, like “success,” and what I thought it would be versus what it really is. “Fame,” what I thought it was going to be, versus what it really is. Fame, what I thought it was going to be and how you get it, versus how you really get it — and it’s in that area I’ll give you a little hint. Ten, 12 years ago, or whatever, I thought — simply as a consumer of media — that whenever I read a profile of someone anywhere — newspaper, a magazine, or saw one on television — I assumed that it was because that person had distinguished him or herself in achievement, had achieved something noteworthy that set that person apart from all others who did the same kind of work that person did.
I thought the media were people that were constantly scouting out these success stories, or in some cases the negative examples. But I thought they were real sleuths! I thought they were really out there investigating and turning up every stone, looking for the absolute best, and little did I know how wrong I was! Little did I know how irrelevant achievement is to fame and what some people would call PR or publicity. It derives from other factors — and you can’t take the politics out of it: the orientation of the media versus whoever it is that they are writing or talking about. And most certainly, you can’t take flacks out of it: PR people who are out there hustling up these stories, and you can’t take out the fact that there are quid pro quos to the journalist or to the organization when such a story is done. I had no idea that there were PR firms out there that had clients and the sole job was to get their clients in the news as often as possible.
I had no idea that people like Bruce Willis being photographed in the China Club at two in the morning was work, and if given the choice he’d actually have been in bed, but he had to be seen: two in the morning in the China Club to get his picture in the paper right before a movie comes out. That’s how na?ve I was, and what I didn’t understand is you can become famous or notorious without having achieved anything (hello, Paris Hilton) if you have the right connections and the right PR people. You can survive on buzz. You can have a radio show that nobody listens to, and yet the media portrays it as relevant and important and big. You can have a radio show that everybody listens to, and the media will do their best to ignore it or disparage it or try to discredit it.
One of the things I’ve learned is that the media is just like anybody else: if you are suck up to the, your odds are much better of favorable treatment. If you leak information to them, if you are a source for them so that they don’t have to work and be sleuths and find things, they’ll hold you in a little higher regard and higher esteem than if you assume a confrontational posture with them. Well, of course I have taken a confrontational posture because I think that they’re horrible, and I think what they do is irresponsible in many cases, and I point it out. This is not a whine or a moan. I don’t expect fair treatment from these people, but I did, is the point, early on — based solely on achievement. I thought achieving in my industry would garner me instant respect among others in the industry.
I was so na?ve! I should have learned all this in high school, but I didn’t take note of it, and the reason that I didn’t take note of it is because everybody that was in this business who had achieved was treated royally by people in the business and treated royally by people in the media, but that didn’t happen to me. I couldn’t figure out why, and it took me awhile to have it explained to me and to be understood personally on my own. So when I see this story about all these young kids who think being a celebrity would be the very best thing in the world, it’s a little alarming because I can tell you that there’s no ten-year-old or nine-year-old or eight-year-old who has the slightest clue what it really means, and what life as a celebrity with fame is really all about. It’s impossible to know.
Most people can’t ’til you live it, and yet the desire to do so is rooted in understanding human nature. Everybody wants to be noticed. Everybody wants to be the focus of attention. Everybody wants to be loved. Everybody wants to be treated like royalty. Movie stars are the top. They never get ripped by the people, the media, in their own business. They are treated as experts on everything! An actor can go out and play a farm wife and two weeks later be testifying before the Senate on agriculture problems! People watch this and say, “Wow, man! I would love to be living that,” but the bad thing about it is that depending on who you are and how you do it, you don’t have accomplish anything to become a celebrity, and for those kind of people, it’s one of the emptiest, most vacuous lives you can lead, and yet it is attractive to so many people (young people especially) because of the way celebrities are portrayed in the media.
Of course it looks cool! Partying all night, every night, running around, doing whatever you want, unlimited budget — and of course nothing is ever as it seems. Nothing is ever as it appears to be to people on the outside. It’s one of these things that if I can grab hold of every one of these kids and instead of going, “Awww, that’s so cute, little Johnny! You, too, want to be Paris Hilton,” at some point and tell ’em, “You really don’t understand what that’s all about, and it’s the fastest route to emptiness, if that’s your pursuit.” There are people, by the way, who are famous because they’re great. They’re famous, but they’re not “celebrities.” There are great people. I’m not totally wrong about this. There are many, many people who have achieved greatness and acclaim strictly and solely on the basis of achievement. They used to be taught in history books. Now they’ve been replaced by people like Bill Clinton and Jamie Gorelick.
That route is still there, and in each case, I don’t care who you name — Einstein, Jonas Salk, name any of these people — their quest was not celebrity. Their quest was not fame. They were oriented toward the pursuit of excellence, to be the best they could be, following their passions. They achieved, made noticeable changes in the world. “You hear people say, “I want to make a difference.” Bono is running around, “I want to make a difference. I just want to make a difference.” (By the way, Bono got stiffed by the Democrats in a request for money for Africa. I have the story coming up. Sit tight.) You can say, “Bono made a difference.” He can tell himself he made a difference. He’s running around trying to get other people to give money, but is that really “making a difference”? A lot of young kids look at that and say, “Boy, that’s great. I want to matter! I want to be able to run around and make everybody think I care,” but he is he accomplishing anything? Is he really changing anything?
No. The answer is no. I’m not questioning his intentions. I’m looking at the results. On the other hand, the people over there who are actually passing out the TB drugs, who are donating them, who are educating people, taking steps to stop AIDS — who you’ve never heard about and you never will hear about because they’re not seeking celebrity, they are making a difference. Of course, Hitler “made a difference.” You have to be careful how you use the term and throw it around. My only point here, folks: if you have a young kid, a young child who probably falls in the same category as these little crumb crunchers in the UK, and you think they’re oriented toward becoming a celebrity, don’t be a celebrity parent. Sit ’em down and tell ’em there’s no substitute for substance in life. Anybody can be vacuous. Anybody can be empty and accomplish nothing.
RUSH: Here’s Gail. Gail is calling from Olive Branch, Mississippi. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Merry Christmas, Rush.
RUSH: Same to you.
CALLER: I called because Senator Hillary have insulted by intelligence. The Bill and Hillary Team had eight years in the White House with assess to intelligence, and if she can — after nodding faithfully next to her husband’s warnings about Iraq, if she can — say that she was duped by President Bush, then why can she be not duped by our enemies and why as she smart enough to be president?
RUSH: Well, you’re asking the wrong questions because those questions — the answers to them — make Hillary look very bad. You’re absolutely right, by the way. The Clinton administration announced the same threats in 1998, and the media was parroting those threats, not arguing with them, and Democrats and Republicans in the Senate were agreeing with the president: something had to be done. The Republicans were not treating Clinton like the Democrats treated Bush. That’s a great question: “Where was Hillary when her husband was sounding the same warnings back in 1998-1999?” But what Hillary knows is (chuckling). It’s called Lewinsky back then, and there were strategic reasons for sounding those warning bells. She knows the intelligence is what it was. She knows that Bush didn’t lie. She knows that Bush didn’t make any of it up, and that’s your point. She’s just taking the opportunity here of 20/20 hindsight. The reason she’s doing it, obviously, is for her upcoming, soon to-be-announced, I’m sure, presidential campaign. She has the freedom of changing her mind. A, she’s a woman — and we all know that that alone grants you the right to change your mind, whenever and for whatever reason, without question.
CALLER: It’s not their lack of knowledge, it’s their feeble response, and I’m a woman, too, but I wouldn’t trust her.
RUSH: I won’t, either. I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her.
CALLER: And I don’t believe she trusts herself because she’s easily duped.
RUSH: Well, I don’t think she looks at herself that way. Royalty and queens and so forth never think of themselves as dupable. They do the duping. Everybody else is just a plebe that you condescend towards and have contempt for, hold in contempt. Anyway, that is an excellent point and you’re very wise to bring it. You don’t think it makes her “the Smartest Woman in the World,” but what has she ever done to establish that anyway? This is part and parcel of what I was talking about in the monologue when I opened the hour. Mrs. Clinton has demonstrated nothing to garner the image or credit of smartest woman in the world, and yet that’s her image. Who created that? That was created out of whole cloth. It was created and promoted with a willing media. It’s not based on achievement; it’s not based on substance. It’s totally based on spin. That’s a great example, too. She’s not the Smartest Woman in the World. It’s not possible.
CALLER: May I respond to that?
CALLER: Maybe the major media is easily duped.
RUSH: Well, yeah, they are, especially by people on their side. There’s no question they’re easily duped, but at the same time, they consider themselves part of the elite and un-dupable, and that it’s their job to make sure that the plebes and the hoi polloi don’t learn too much about what’s going on. They’re liberals! Whether in the media, whether in office, whether they’re in the environmental movement, whether they’re wherever in Hollywood, they are liberals and they’re liberals first — and there are characteristics that all liberals have. One is the superiority elitist complex that combines an arrogant condescension towards everybody else, towards average people. They’ll set up all kinds of rules for “society” to live by from which they exempt themselves. Look at the environmental movement. All of these restrictions: you and I, we gotta be out there driving hybrids or electric cars or whatever. Do you think that the Hollywood people promoting this are going to give up their toys? Do you think Ted Kennedy is going to start driving around one of those things? It’s not going to happen! They don’t have traffic jams in their lives. There’s no such thing as a red light. They’ve got escorts wherever they go, t traffic problems and tie-ups, that’s for you. They’ll give us great things like HOV lanes, and mass transit to alleviate our traffic problems, while they exempt themselves from most of these things. Thanks for the call out there, Gail.